I am a lot of things. A person, a woman, an artist, an animal lover, a student, an illustrator, a psychologist (s), but overall, just like many other creative people, I am a designer. The things you learn as a designer, are quite a lot. You learn about yourself, skills, self-improvement, what you are good and not so good at. You also learn a lot about people, their businesses, their challenges, their fears (as somehow they become yours for a while). You learn to pay attention and listen. You get to know a different perspective on life. And all of this starts over when a new project gets started.
I recall various things from old projects: every person or team I have worked with on a project in the twelve years I have been doing this. Their facial expressions during meetings. Their attention and whenever they didn’t want to listen. I remember what they told me (or told us). I remember even how much they loved the designs we created for them. I also remember when they said no, and we had to start over. I have learned things, tips, and tricks from each one of this experiences.
So, I can say, you learn as a designer:
- Everytime a project starts, you are part of something bigger than you. And every time, it’s worth it.
- The customer is always right. Well, sort of. The thing is, your customer may know what he/she wants. But you need to show him/her the visual part of the idea; hence they can realize that’s what they wanted/needed.
- Rejection is part of life. It is not personal unless you are doing a very crappy job, it’s not about you, it’s about the project.
- Everyone is scared of new and different. At least at first. I remember with my former partner, how we used to get dressed and attended to meetings. We always looked different. They always seemed worried at first. They ended up loving the result. They always hired us or recommended us to other customers over and over again.
- Working with the customer is essential. Learn to listen and then do. In that order.
- Ask the right questions. A lot of them.
- Enjoy the creative process. Learn how to create flow.
- It is OK to make mistakes as long as you are learning from them. It is also Ok to take responsibility for them.
- You are Good Enough. Start acting confident about your skills.
- To be honest is essential.
- Find your calling. What you feel more passionate about is what you should pursue.
- Create a portfolio with all your design work, not only an Instagram (or any other social media) page.
- Pay attention to details.
- Get to know the people who hire you. They trust you, so treat every client, with respect, and familiarity.
- Focus on people. Treat your customers like people not sources of money.
- Understand what your customer need. Do this first.
- Define your brand. Remember, you are helping other people create theirs. You need to show yours, so people can see you know what you are doing.
- Work on your ideas. You’re an excellent source of ideas; your brain has thousands, (actually millions) of neural connections working at your service every day. Don’t waste them.
- Do not miss deadlines. If you need more time for finishing a project: ASK for it.
- Simplify. Remember that less is more.
- Sometimes quitting is the right thing to do.
- It is OK to say no to a project (if it isn’t the right fit for you).
- Art related careers are just as hard as every other profession. It has its challenges, but what doesn’t?
- Being shy about your work will take you nowhere. I read this quote in a book recently: “If you write a book and are a great writer but do not share it with anyone, it will be like if you never really wrote it.” So, share what you do, and you’ll find the people who love what you create and want to work with you.
- Project your vision in everything you do.
- Sketch. Make sketches for every idea you have.
- Ask $ in advance. 50% or so is a good idea.
- Talk about reviews. From the beginning.
- Learn to market yourself.
- Use the power of social media.
- Haters are part of becoming “public.” No matter how good you are, some people will always criticize your work.
- A happy customer always comes back. And it’s also very likely he will recommend you to other potential clients.
- Be humble. The better you become, the humbler you need to be.
- Teach what you know.
- Your health is important. Sleep enough, eat healthy food, exercise every day.
- If you have an idea, write it down or sketch it. Always carry a notebook or sketchbook with you.
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Have an amazing journey.